In the Queen City of the South, A Sea of Santo Niño de Cebú Devotees
Choose Philippines | Jan 23, 2020
One of the pre-fiesta activities is the visit of the pilgrim images of the Child Jesus to hospitals and jail facilities to give patients and persons deprived of liberty the chance to take a glimpse of the image. It's a life-touching opportunity for them to pray with the presence of the image. This year, the Augustinian priests decided to include 3 parishes in Cebu City in the itinerary.
The Pilgrim Center of the Basilica Minore Del Santo Niño is jampacked with devotees and other visitors during the entire run of the novena masses.
In a rare occasion, the religious and cultural aspects of the celebration intertwine as clearly depicted by the pilgrim image of Santo Niño joining the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan street parade this year.
The traditional hand waving while singing the Batobalani sa Gugma (Magnet of Love) is one of the most emotional parts of the mass at the Basilica. The gesture is an expression of admitting ones weaknesses and submitting to God as the source of strength.
This scene is common for believers who own their image of the Child Jesus. They go out of their way to join or observe the procession and bring their images with them.
The fluvial procession which happens every visperas of the festival starts and concludes with people waiting in wharf and ports.
This is a first for a Commercial Cargo Vessel to be designated as the official galleon of the pilgrim of image of Santo Niño and Our Lady of Guadulupe. The vessel is named after Servant of God Teofilo Camomot, a Cebuano clergyman who hails from Carcar City, Cebu.
Street dancing is a prelude to the ritual showdown at the Cebu City Sports Center. Creative formations and the famous Sinulog dance steps wow the spectators.
After landing in second place, the Carcar City contingent is still in gratitude, despite the failed attempt to snatch a grand slam win for this year's Sinulog-based Dance Ritual competition.
Parents would dress up their children like a little Niño petition for protection and guidance.
Story and photos by Joworski Alipon
When there are about two million people gather in a common venue, you know that there is something big happening in the area. Every 3rd Sunday of January, the Queen City of the South plays host to spectators and churchgoers convening for the annual Sinulog celebration, filling the uptown and downtown areas at the heart of Cebu City.
For Sinulog 2020, religious activities included: foot processions such as Walk with Jesus and Walk with Mary, the Traslacion or the transfer of the images of the Virgin Mary, her son the Child Jesus to the Shrine of Saint Joseph the Worker in Mandaue City, the Fluvial procession, and a solemn procession that took place a day before the main festival.
The Sinulog Foundation Incorporated (SFI) decided to dedicate a six-kilometer carousel route to give an equal opportunity for the 23 participating contingents to showcase their creativity in the street dancing. Initially, ten out-of-town contingents manifested their commitment to join but due to lack of time for preparations, some decided to back out. Other Mindanao contingents had to recover from the devastating series of earthquakes.
In the end, most of the seven out-of-town contingents hailed from the Negros Island; San Carlos City, Bacolod City and La Castellana in Negros Occidental, and the town of Sta. Catalina in Negros Oriental. The Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe representing Tangub City, Misamis Occidental were the only contingent from Mindanao. Their efforts were not in vain. They bagged the top prize for the Sinulog-based category, their 12th championship to date, a sweet comeback after a two-year hiatus. This year's Sinulog also marked the second consecutive year for a guest contingent from South Korea to share their culture during the parade.
According to the organizers of the festival, next year's Sinulog is slated to be bigger, as this will commemorate the 500-year anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the country. This early, the Archdiocese of Cebu in coordination with the Basilica friars are getting ready for the momentous event. The Jubilee Cross or the replica of the Magellan's cross and the pilgrim image of Sr. Sto. Niño have been going around parishes for the faithful’s veneration. This will also form part of the Church’s evangelization efforts.
For more Sinulog festivities, watch the Choose Philippines Sinulog coverage here!